Coin miner malware grew a stunning 629% to more than
2.9 million known samples in Q1 from almost 400,000
samples in Q4. This suggests that cybercriminals are
warming to the prospect of monetizing infections of user
systems without prompting victims to make payments,
as is the case with popular ransomware schemes.
Indeed, Operation Prowli malware is thought to have infected 40,000 computers alone. And back in May, 500,000 computers were infected with malware that was then able to mine over $25000 in Monero.
The report goes on to explain that the issue facing the sector is the ease by which criminals can act without risk or difficulty:
Compared with well-established cybercrime activities
such as data theft and ransomware, cryptojacking
is simpler, more straightforward, and less risky. All
criminals must do is infect millions of systems and start
monetizing the attack by mining for cryptocurrencies on
victims’ systems. There are no middlemen, there are no
fraud schemes, and there are no victims who need to be
prompted to pay and who, potentially, may back up their
systems in advance and refuse to pay.
This is an issue that has been up for discussion for quite a while now and several major security companies are working on creating robust solutions to prevent malware attacks – something that McAfee themselves are extremely well-versed in. But it is very difficult to curb malware when digital currency is, by nature, universal. And even if there is a way, it will take a lot of time to develop and circulate.
With nearly 7000 employees, McAfee is the world’s largest dedicated security technology company.
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